President Barack Obama has proposed a funding increase for the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration that would boost the agency's funding by 9 percent to expand investigations into vehicle safety defects.
Obama hopes to increase funding to NHTSA to $908 million for the 2016 fiscal year that starts Oct. 1. The proposal would triple the amount budgeted for safety defect investigations to $31.3 million. The increase equates to 59 new employees, reports Reuters.
Federal funding to NHTSA has been on the upswing, as the agency received $819 million in funding for the 2014 fiscal year and $830 million for the 2015 fiscal year, according to federal records.
Under Obama's proposal, $577 million would go toward highway traffic safety grants, an increase from the $561.5 million from the prior year. Obama also hopes to boost highway safety research and development by $14.5 million.
A new allocation of $179 million would go toward rulemaking, enforcement, and research.
"Our FY-2016 budget request will allow NHTSA to conduct rulemaking, enforcement, and vehicle research, as well as to develop and implement data-driven, workable, and self-sustaining highway safety programs that reduce highway injuries and fatalities," according to the agency's budget request.
The nation has seen a gradual decline in road deaths over the past seven years. In 2013, 32,719 people were killed in highway crashes, which represented a 3.1-percent decrease from 2012.